The MU Sinclair School of Nursing was recently ranked 53rd in U.S. News and World Report’s 2004 edition of “America’s Best Graduate Schools.”
The school received a score of 3.4 out of 5. Its rank, the highest of Missouri public schools, was shared with Marquette University in Wisconsin, Medical University of South Carolina, St. Louis University and Texas Women’s University.
The scores are tallied through peer assessment surveys done by deans, other administrators and faculty in that field. These individuals ranked the programs on a scale of one to five — with one being marginal and five being outstanding — and nominated the top 10 schools for each area within the nursing field.
According to Roxanne McDaniel, associate dean of graduate and undergraduates, the School of Nursing has received similar ranks in previous years. She said the ranking is important in attracting more students.
With a current nationwide nursing shortage, McDaniel agrees that advertising strong graduate programs for nursing will attract more students in general. According to a recent School of Nursing press release, the specific shortage of nurse educators is also an important but less publicized issue. Maurice Manring, University Hospital spokesman, said the current vacancy rate “is in the low teens.”
About 140 students are enrolled in the School of Nursing graduate program. No more than 10 of those students are nurse educators. McDaniel says that while the number of students in the master’s program has remained fairly stable, the number of nurse educators in the program has seen a slow increase.
McDaniel also says students in the educators sequence of the program typically get jobs straight out of college because of the need to fill these positions. Doctoral students are also in similar demand.
“There is a great need for doctorally prepared nurses as well,” McDaniel said.
In an effort to attract more students, the School of Nursing also has several Web-based programs that help students cut down on the amount they have to travel and provide students with a flexible schedule.
“There are highlights for each different area,” she said.
The school also works to make sure people know that an educator program is available. McDaniel said that faculty members bring along information about the school when they go to present to help publicize programs they have.
Comparable programs to the School of Nursing include 29th-ranked University of Kentucky, with a score of 3.7, and University of Tennessee-Knoxville and West Virginia University, which were both ranked 75th with a score of 3.2.